Former and current employees of Sears Canada have filed a legal motion in an attempt to stop dozens of company executives from splitting $7.6 million in retention bonuses while many laid-off workers miss out on severance payments.
In court documents, lawyers for the employees call the bonus pay “excessive” after 2,900 employees from 59 stores were let go in June.
If the payment goes through, 43 executives would take home bonuses.
A spokesperson for Sears Canada said these sorts of payments are common in restructuring and necessary to keep executives in the business.
But former Sears Canada CEO Mark Cohen told CTV News the workers deserve more support from their employer.
“I would protect the employment of the folks working in stores. I don’t know that I would protect the employment of executives who, frankly, are in no small measure responsible for this problem,” Cohen said.
After news of the layoffs, numerous stories emerged of long-time employees suddenly being given pink slips. Josee Nadeau, a sales associate for more than 30 years, was out of a job with no severance pay.
“Zero, zero. Nothing,” Nadeau said.
Sears Canada has been dealing with a serious image problem since the layoffs. The hashtag #BoycottSearsCanada began trending on Twitter, and the company’s Facebook page has stopped allowing public posts.